Democratic and Republican voters will head to the polls on June 14 to choose their respective candidates for the fall races, which include contests for governor, U.S. House of Representatives and all 186 seats in the Maine Legislature.

Democrats are facing national headwinds going into the fall elections, with recent polls showing President Biden’s approval rating under water and economic issues, such as inflation and the rising cost of gasoline, oil and electricity, causing anxiety among many Mainers.

Democrats, meanwhile, are looking to close an apparent enthusiasm gap by highlighting the threat they say Republicans pose to abortion, LGBTQ and civil rights, as well as democracy itself.

Outside of the legislative races, there is only one contested primary. Former U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin and Liz Caruso are facing off in the Republican primary for U.S. Congress. The winner will face Democratic U.S. Rep. Jared Golden to represent the 2nd District the U.S. House of Representatives.

Neither Democratic Gov. Janet Mills nor former Gov. Paul LePage, a Republican, is facing any primary challengers ahead of their fall matchup, nor do Democratic U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree or Republican challenger Ed Thelander, who are competing to represent the 1st District in the U.S. House.

In addition to the 26 contested legislative primaries, voters in Hancock County will cast ballots in a special election for the Senate District 7 race between two-term state Rep. Nicole Grohoski, D-Ellsworth, and Republican Brian Langley, a former legislator who served in the Senate from 2010 to 2018. The seat was vacated by Sen. Louis Luchini, D-Ellsworth, who resigned in January to take a job as an advocate in the U.S. Small Business Administration.


A special election is being held in June to fill the seat, which includes Ellsworth, Bar Harbor and Deer Isle, because there was not enough time to hold a special election before the Legislature was scheduled to adjourn on April 20, according to the Secretary of State. Both parties needed to caucus to choose a candidate and time would have been needed to allow possible write-in candidates to declare. Additional time would be needed to print the ballots.

The winner of that race will not cast a single vote in Augusta, unless the governor calls the Legislature back for a special session. Both candidates will square off again in the fall.

But the race is considered a bellwether for the fall elections, with both parties investing nearly six figures into the campaign. It will give Republicans an opportunity to see whether their strategy of linking Democrats to inflation and rising gas prices can work in any of the state’s swing districts.

Elsewhere in the state, all 151 seats in the House and all 35 seats in the Senate are up for grabs this fall. But first, candidates need to win their primaries.

Although Mills signed into law a bill that would allow for semi-open primaries, this year’s contests are only open to those who are registered with their respective political party, because the new law does not take effect until the 2024 election cycle. Once the law takes effect, unenrolled voters, who account for about a third of Maine’s registered voters, will be able to participate in either a Republican or a Democratic primary election.

Republicans say they’re experiencing a surge in enthusiasm among their base and candidates, noting that they’re fielding more candidates in competitive races than Democrats.


Republicans have 17 contested primaries in June and are running candidates in all but eight House races. They are running a full slate of candidates for the Senate, with three contested primaries.

Democrats, meanwhile, have nine contested House primaries, but are not fielding candidates in 13 House races. In the Senate, they are running a full slate, including nine contested primaries.

Democrats are looking to hold onto their trifecta by controlling the Blaine House and both chambers of the Legislature.

Of the two legislative chambers, the Senate is perhaps the Republicans’ best chance at earning a majority. Democrats hold a 8-seat advantage in the Senate, which has flipped four times since 2011. Republicans have only controlled the House once – after LePage took office in 2011 – in the last 40 years.

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